Friday, June 29, 2012

Flashback Friday

This is Virginia just 7 months ago on the day that she was first extubated. Aside from her first few days of life, I don't think I have ever been so scared and then so devastated. Her lung condition was becoming critical and I knew all too well that she needed to come off the vent very soon in order to avoid some pretty scary interventions.

She did have to be reintubated, but just a week later we were lucky to have Yale's famously ventilator aggressive neonatologist as her attending physician. He had a plan for her and she followed the plan. She often teetered off track but always seemed to find her way back. Many of her nurses and even I thought it may be too soon. She was having problems with fluid retention, was requiring a high percentage of oxygen, and her chest X-rays were getting more and more concerning. Her attending stuck to his plan and primed her in such a precise manner to get her off the vent. There was lasix, blood transfusions, nebulizers, and chest therapy. She came off the ventilator that next week and never looked back.

True to form she continues to do things when she is ready to do them.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Another 124 days

Virginia was born at 11:11am.  At just after 11am 124 days later she was discharged from the hospital.  Now 124 days after discharge we are on vacation, celebrating being out of the hospital for longer than she was in the hospital.  God is good!

To me this is such an important milestone.  The further and further we get away from the hardest days of our lives the easier it is to forget the horrible memories and only remember and even be nostalgic about the good ones.  Thankfully, Im not sure I could interpret ventilator settings or electrolyte labs like I could in the fall but Im positive that I can point to the exact places on my chest where Virginia was placed the first time I held her.  I know just where her tiny little head was and where her precious toes dangled.  The good memories are imprinted in us.  

I dont have a scale here, but based on her pretty consistent weight gain, I would bet that she weights right around 13 pounds and 4 ounces, which means she has doubled her discharge weight of 6 pounds 10 ounces.

Friday, June 22, 2012

8 Months Old!

Virginia is 8 Months old today!  We love her more and more with each day and we are having more fun than we ever thought possible.

At 8 months:
Virginia weighs 13lbs 1oz
She is over 24 inches long
She giggles like crazy when she is tickled
She can roll from her belly to her back, but doesn't do it consistently.
Virginia is interested in looking at everything and is easily distracted when eating.
She wakes up SO SO happy every morning after a long nights sleep.

 This gorgeous hat came from our friends The Fannons :)

Virginia loves sitting up and is trying to master sitting on her own. She is getting pretty good but....

 She is better at toppling over :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

busy days

We have been playing "pass the baby" lately.  It has been a pretty crazy schedule of trading weeks at home to take care of Virginia.  Heath has been home this week and on the days that he has class at night he literally has to pass her off as I walk in the door and he walks out.  I'm really not sure how we have juggled all of this for so long, but with the help of our parents and flexibility and understanding of our employers we have managed.  We leave for a much needed vacation on Saturday and after we return my Mom will be here to help us for the next 5 weeks.  

Virginia has been such a laid back and happy baby despite the busy schedules and revolving caretakers.  She has also had a busy and fun week herself.  She went to baby yoga class, she went to church for the first time, we visited her nurses at Yale, we went to a playdate, and we visited Heath's work.  I think she is ready for vacation too!  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

It's been 236 days (thanks excel) since we started this blog (and I'm using we liberally I really just set up the account).  I cannot thank Alyssa enough for all the time she's put into documenting our journey, which I know years from now we continue to appreciate.  It's helped us share our progress from near and far and even gain friends we never would have known.  She's done an amazing job writing and keeping everyone up to date and really that's what's meant the most.  She of course is the better writer in the house, that's why will keep this to my first and probably last post.

The blog helped me allow co-workers, classmates and family a positive glimpse into our lives and allowed for people to ask questions knowing how well we were doing.  My best reply to anyone that ever read the blog and asked me if I saw her latest post was, "I'm living the blog."  Of course that was in jest but the way she's captured our journey it was the truth.

Today I felt compelled to write something.  It's been a weird and amazing feeling having people come up to you and say Happy Father's day.  The idea of being a father is still a somewhat new feeling (even though it's almost been eight months) and the emotion of what we've been through has really stuck with me the past few days.  Realizing that someone now depends on you and how much love you share for that person makes me appreciate even more what we have with both of our father's.  Hopefully, once Ginny gets old enough she'll realize how much I love her too.

To our dad's:

Through the whole thing our father's have been the rock for us that I hope I will become for Ginny.  Whether it was bringing us Dunkin' Donuts, driving Alyssa back and forth to the hospital, visiting or calling to get updates.  You both have been a great help and support along the way.  We love you and Happy Father's day!

These pictures were in a frame for me from Virginia and since most will probably never see them in my office I thought I would share, man I can't get enough of her.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Flashback Friday

Towards the end of Virginia's stay in the NICU we brought in a disposable camera and placed a sign by her bedside asking her nurses and doctors to take photos with her.  We thought that someday she would want to see photos of the people that took care of her and photos of her "home" for those 4 months.

We finally got those photos developed  last week and by far the funniest picture is below.

In a desperate attempt to get Virginia taking a bottle, I bought and brought in a new type of bottle all.the.time, one of which cost a small fortune.  What can I say, I was desperate.

I'm certain that I drove our nurses and occupational therapist crazy.   I love that they took this photo poking fun at me, but I love even more that Virginia (mid yawn? cry?) seems to be laughing at us.  Her collection of bottles wasn't very funny at the time, but we had a good laugh at this photo when we got it.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

more photos and a thank you

Because both of our families live out of state, Virginia's baptism was a weekend affair with guests traveling to Connecticut from New York, Maryland and Florida.  Heath's sister Nichole organized a dinner in a private room at a local restaurant the night before the baptism.   We really enjoyed getting to spend some extra time with our family.  We also loved getting to share Virginia with some of our family members that had either never met her or hadn't seen her since she was in the hospital.

Below are some more photos from Virginia's baptism day:

Lastly, we owe Heath's parents a huge thank you for all of their help for the last 2 weeks.  They have been caring for Virginia while I have been at work and were also a huge help in preparing for Virginia's baptism brunch.  

We don't say it enough, but the support of both of our parents in the past year has been unbelievably important to us.  The good days, the bad days, the celebrations and the frustrations, they have been by our side through it all.  Most people recognize that Heath and I went through alot in the past 9 months, but I'm not sure that people realize the countless hours that our parents spent at the hospital, the countless phone calls that they made, the miles that they drove, the meals that they made, the tears that they shed.  Their love for Virginia is SO evident and we are so thankful for their support.  
To Moma, Bob Bob, Neno and Papa, Virginia loves you very much! 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Virginia's Baptism

Not only is Virginia a million dollar baby (probably more than that, but I don't care to know or calculate the total), but I firmly believe she is probably a million prayers baby too.  I know I have said enough Hail Marys to wear out a set of rosary beads and I'm sure that doesn't even make a dent in the amount of prayers that have been said for our little girl.  

Within days of Virginia's birth we reached out to our Parish, St. Thomas Aquinas, to have her name added to the prayer line.  Within another few days Father Martin visited us in the hospital.  I was back in the hospital due to complications from the c-section and Virginia was in the NBSCU having difficulties due to her PDA and blood pressure issues.  It was a scary time to say the least.  Father Martin graciously sat with me and prayed with me and asked to baptize Virginia.  I hesitated, as Heath was not at the hospital at the time, and deep down I felt that I wanted her baptism to be a celebration, a joyous occasion.  He obliged, but I could tell that he had not seen many (any?) babies as small as Virginia before. He asked me to call him anytime and he would come to the hospital to baptize her.  Before he left he said a prayer over Virginia and promised to pray for her daily.  Not only did he pray for her daily, but every mass at St. Thomas, every day prayed for Virginia for 4 months.  Every Sunday Heath and I would squeeze each others hands as they included "newborn baby Virginia Kathryn Kent" in the intentions.  It was such a comfort. 

Well, a celebration we had! Heath, Virginia and I were so happy to celebrate with about 50 of our family members and friends.  Thank you all who joined us in person and in spirit.  We can hardly express what your support and love mean to us.  Our little Virginia is so lucky to have each of you in her life.  

Below are a few photos from the day.  I will add more as I receive them from some of the other photographers in the family. (Thank you to Aunt Karen for these photos!)

With Father Martin
Heath, Virginia and I with her God Parents

With all of Virginia's cousins

Thursday, June 7, 2012


We have been offering Virginia a little bit of baby oatmeal each day.
I'd say she seems to like it! 
 I admit that I was very skeptical about how she would do with solid foods.  Based on all the trouble we had with bottle feeding when she was in the NICU, I admittedly had low realistic expectations and was prepared for a long process.  Virginia certainly made me eat my words!  She opens her mouth, moves the food around and gets a good amount down the gullet!  There has been no gagging, choking or tight lip refusal; all things she threw our way during those tough excruciating weeks and weeks of bottle feeding.  

We joined a CSA (community supported agriculture) and have a half share for the next 12 or so weeks.  I am committed to feeding ourselves and Virginia healthy and interesting foods from what arrives each week in our box from the farm.  Our first box arrived this week with a whole lot of greens!  It looks like Heath and I will be eating lots of salads for the next week.  We received 3 different types of lettuce, kale, garlic scapes, radishes, and beets.  Hopefully by the time that Virginia is ready to move past oatmeal we will be getting more carrots and beans and less lettuce :)

Monday, June 4, 2012


Virginia has been meeting lots of new baby friends lately!  She has already had playdates with Jack, Sadie, and all of her cousins and last week she finally met Miss Claire.  Diana, Nate and Claire came down from Boston for the day last Wednesday and kept Virginia and I company (and made us a delicious dinner!) while Heath was at work and school.

Diana is one of my best friends from RPI.  We spent 5 years in Architecture School together and were roommates in Rome together.  Diana and I also happen to share a birthday.  When we found out that we were both pregnant and due just 5 or so weeks apart we talked about how neat it would have been if our due dates were a little closer together so that maybe the babies would share a birthday too. Never did we imagine that Virginia would arrive almost 10 weeks before Claire.  

Diana and Nate have been there for us every step of the way.  We are so thankful to them for their support during the scary days and the happy days.  Ironically Diana sent me a text message while I was in the OR for Virginia's birth saying she had a dream the previous night that we had a healthy baby.  She didn't know that delivery was imminent and I think she meant that message to serve as bed rest motivation, instead it served as much needed comfort.

I know these girls are going to be great friends some day!  

Virginia is now weighing 12lbs and 5ish ounces.  She loves sitting up (with some assistance) and hates tummy time.  She was a champion traveler again this past weekend, even when we spent hours in traffic on our drive home from Maryland.  She also continues to be an excellent nighttime sleeper :)